Kill the Germs, Not the Car

Disinfecting Vehicles Without Causing Damage

None of us wants to eat off a city sidewalk or stick our hands in a toilet, but we often forget how many germs, viruses, and bacteria live on the common surfaces we touch every day, including in our cars. Gross! Perhaps it’s time to put an end to those nasty contaminants inside your vehicle, but how can you do so without causing damage? We’ll give you some pointers. You can also call or stop by Jeff’s Auto Repair in Lynnwood, Washington, for answers to specific questions about products and cleaning methods that are safe for your car.

Cleaning 101: Basic Information

Sure, you want to kill the germs to protect yourself and your family, but you also want to protect the investment you have made in your car. Many of the products that are known to wage war on viruses and bacteria also damage your vehicle’s interior, especially when used repeatedly over a period of time. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) gives guidelines for sanitizing surfaces on their website. Be aware, however, that some of the recommended substances are counter-indicated by your car’s owner’s manual. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also warns against breathing in certain chemicals. There is an ozone machine for sanitizing car interiors, but it can be dangerous for people to use. In fact, it is outlawed in certain areas.

So what can you use?

A “damp cloth” is most often recommended by vehicle manufacturers, but it may not be enough to put an end to the things that can make you sick. You can choose a cleaner that states on the label that it kills germs, viruses, etc., yet does not contain bleach. Then you must decide if you want to risk wiping that particular cleaner across your interior surfaces. Also, be mindful of the contact times such products require in order to destroy their intended targets. Some kill germs instantly, while others take a few seconds or even minutes. Also, be aware that using dark window tints can also provide a better opportunity for viruses or bacteria to grow inside your car. When it comes to your sensitive electronics, you can purchase wipes made for these pieces of equipment that won’t damage them. These may not kill everything, so another option is to use voice commands when possible instead of touch screens. If you suspect mold growth, there are “bomb” spray cans that can be used with caution by leaving them inside the vehicle while you’re outside, but you may choose to leave mold control to professionals. Be sure to pay attention to high touch areas such as key fobs, door handles, seat belts, steering wheel, etc.

Cleaning Consultation

If you’re concerned about how to safely clean your car’s interior, consult an expert. You can check with the manufacturer or visit government websites. You’re also welcome to talk to us at Jeff’s Auto Repair in Lynnwood, Washington.

Written by Jeff's Auto Repair

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